Creating affordable housing is a top priority for KEPHART. For over a decade, we have been proud to collaborate with peers, students, and stakeholders as supporters of the Design by Community Charrette hosted by Housing Colorado. Land planners and architects from our firm collaborated with other architectural, engineering, and development professionals to hold an intensive hands-on three-day design charrette, the results of which were presented by students from the University of Colorado Denver at the 2023 Housing Colorado Conference. This charrette was one of three held this year that provides affordable housing developers, housing authorities, and municipalities pro bono pre-development services for an affordable housing project. The intent is to give these organizations the kick-start they need to move their vision toward execution.
This year, professionals from KEPHART led and collaborated with a wide range of peers and students to design ‘Crawford Commons,’ an affordable multifamily community on 6.5 acres in Clifton near Grand Junction, Colorado for our sponsor Housing Resources of Western Colorado. KEPHART hosted the three-day charrette in the Crash – our multi-use community room – where professionals from DTJ Design, The Espinosa Group, GLDA Development, Craft Civil Design, RIOS Architecture, and students from the CU Denver School of Architecture met to help Housing Resources of Western Colorado with the pre-development of the site. It was an excellent way for KEPHART to collaborate with other firms we may not have worked with in the past and to create lasting relationships with our community. KEPHART’s Adam Kantor was one of the leaders of the charrette and Doug Van Lerberghe and Josh Robinson assisted him. Kantor is a long-time participant and leader of Housing Colorado’s Design by Community event and notes that KEPHART is especially poised to excel in these charrettes based on our knowledge of the LIHTC process, the past affordable housing projects we’ve designed, and the relationships we have cultivated with clients and consultants across Colorado.
The pre-development process of ‘Crawford Commons’ started with talking to stakeholders from Clifton Community Leaders, who came up with the goals of serving the nearby Clifton community with useable open spaces, ensuring housing types are accessible and energy efficient, producing a creative use for the stormwater structure, and creating housing with modular/panelized construction for ease of building. Students presented their extensive findings at the Housing Colorado Conference and were able to take questions from over a hundred presentation attendees. Some past student participants have gone on to careers in the affordable housing industry and even into architecture here at KEPHART.
Not only does the Design by Community Charrette help affordable housing developers with the pre-development services that may be out of reach for some, but students are also walking away with valuable real-world architectural experience. Previous charrettes have been able to take this pre-development work successfully forward for funding and development. KEPHART is proud to employ our skill set and knowledge to help guide the students throughout the process. To learn more about this year’s charrette, click on the presentation below.